Each year, UK homes throw away 30 million tonnes of rubbish: that’s the same weight as 3.5 million double-decker buses. In that time, the average British family gets through seven trees worth of paper, while over 100,000 sea creatures are killed by plastic in our oceans. Shocked? We are, which is why we want you: the world’s future CEOs, scientists and life-savers, to do something about it.

We’re giving ten people aged 13-25, a £500 grant so that they can turn their big idea to help protect the planet into a reality.

Read on to find out how you can help to save the world and become your own boss 5 (and a half) steps. Easy right?!

1. Do your research

It’s time to hit Google, or the books if you’re feeling old fashioned, and figure out what the heck is going on with the planet. Maybe you’re interested in reducing food waste, wanna look into renewable energy, or figure out how to stop water levels from rising. Do a bit of research to identify the key sustainability issue you’re passionate about, and what’s already being done. For a little environmental inspiration, check out Sustainia to see the latest innovations in the field (and make sure no one’s doing your idea already!)

2. Think up an idea for a project

Once you’ve identified the specific problem you want to tackle, it’s time to think of a way that you can solve it!  To get the £500, your project must have a measurable social impact, be achievable in a six month time frame, and  have digital technology and innovation at the heart of it, whether’s that’s digital research, data management, videos or your own website – the options are endless!

If you get stuck at this stage, check out our list of 20 ways to boost your creativity and these inspiring invention stories!

3. Get the cash to make it happen

Once you’ve got an idea, share it with our mates at O2′s Think Big for the chance to get £500 and the support you need to make your idea come to life. Just fill in the simple application form and *this is really important* make sure you put the code ‘ENVIRO’ in the Youth Partner Code box.

4. Start Saving The Planet!

You’ll get six months to complete your project, documenting the positive change and impact you make as you go along, and build up a big old list of humble brags and achievements to whack on your CV and wow future employers with.

5. Start your own business


Not only could your project idea become a world-changing, planet-saving, environmental phenomenon, it could also become your own business! Loads of the project leaders funded by O2′s Think Big have gone on to become entrepreneurs and  launch their own social enterprises. Kaitlin Zhang went from project leader to CEO of her own personal branding consultancy, and now works with big corporate companies to deliver workshops and is even working on a book!

Meanwhile, Anne Marie Imafidon’s project Stemettes has turned into a social enterprise helping girls to code, and has a massive media following. Stemmette’s have just created a film to document the positive impact they’re having in the world of STEM.

Plus, LettUsGrow, a start-up on a mission to reduce food waste around the world through soil-free gardening, got much needed funding support from our friends at The Environment Now to continue their work.

6. Run off into the sunset with Leonardo DiCaprio

Ok, so this one’s not exactly essential but he’s passionate about climate change too and, well, look at him. It’s always good to be ambitious.

To apply for funding to support your environment project, click here.

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